UEFA Nations League Preview: Denmark -v- Republic of Ireland

Mon, Nov 19 2018

Ireland keeper Darren Randolph shields the ball from Denmark's Jens Stryger Larsen during the sides' last meeting, a 0-0 draw at the Aviva Stadium in October. Credit: Michael P Ryan

DENMARK

Having wrapped up qualification to the last four of League B, the Danes look to see out 2018 in style with the visit of Ireland to Aarhus this evening (kick-off 7.45pm)..

Following the failure to qualify for Euro 2016, football in Scandinavia has been reborn under the management of Age Hareide.

The former Norwegian international saw the Danes unbeaten through 2017 and now only one loss inside 90 minutes this calander year.

After reaching the last 16 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where the Danes bowed out to eventual finalists Croatia on penalties, he’s kept the momentum going with an undefeated run to top the group.

Last week’s 2-1 smash-and-grab win over Wales in Cardiff showed the determination of the Danes.

Denmark squad:

Goalkeepers:  Fredrick Ronnow (Eintracht Frankfurt) Jesper Hansen (FC Midtylland), David Jensen (Utrecht).

Defenders: Andreas Bjelland (Copenhagen), Peter Ankersen (Copenhagen), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield Town), Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton), Henrik Dalsgaard (Ipswich), Jonas Knudsen (Brentford)

Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspurs), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Pierre Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton), Lukas Lerager (Boudreaux), Christian Norgaard (Florentina)

Forwards: Nicoli Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough), Andreas Cornelius (Bordeaux), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Christian Gytkjaer (Lech Poznan).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Already-relegated Republic of Ireland travel to Aarhus this evening to close out their UEFA Nations League campaign on a high when they take on Denmark (kick-off 7.45).

In what was already a grim campaign for the Irish, the Boys in Green faith was out of their hands last week as the Dane’s 2-1 win over Wales last Thursday condemned the Irish to relegation with a game spare.

Tonight’s game give’s Martin O’Neill the opportunity to put a difficult campaign behind him after Ireland picked up just one point from three and only scored one goal.

It is a year which has seen just one win; a 2-1 friendly win over the USA at the Aviva Stadium, with a total of just four goals scored and four defeats.

Ireland’s only positive competitive result came in the form of a 0-0 draw against Denmark last October in Dublin.

"Since the World Cup match, we have played eight games, five of them friendly matches,” O’Neill said before the game.

“If we were looking at decent stats and things, we wouldn't have chosen in recent times Turkey, Poland away, France - who went on to win the World Cup - away from home.

"We could confine ourselves to playing sides that might measure up to us, so those sort of things have never bothered me.

Captain Seamus Coleman said he would like the team to take inspiration from Ireland’s 16-9 rugby win over the All Blacks on Saturday.

“Last night we were massively inspired. They were wearing that green Ireland jersey and when they are wearing that, we are all together.

"But we have a job to do now. We have to put in a big performance for ourselves but, as the manager says, we have had some big nights ourselves and we are looking forward to getting back to those big nights."

Ireland whave a number of absentees going into the tie.  Defender John Egan will be miss, along with midfielder Alan Browne and striker Sean Maguire.

Glenn Whelan, who captained the side on Thursday against Northern Ireland, will not travel, while winger James McClean is suspended.

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Colin Doyle (Heart of Midlothian)  Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Richard Keogh (Derby), Shane Duffy (Brighton Hove Albion), Kevin Long (Burnley), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Jimmy Dunne (Heart of Midlothian on loan from Burnley)  Lee O'Connor (Manchester United), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United).

Midfielders: Robbie Brady (Burnley), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Harry Arter (Cardiff City on loan from Bournemouth), David Meyler (Reading), Shaun Williams (Millwall), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City)

Forwards: Scott Hogan (Millwall), Callum Robinson (Preston North End), Aiden O'Brien (Millwall), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Michael Obafemi (Southampton).\

 

Referee: Aliyar Aghayev.

 

MATCH STATS

This is the third meeting between the sides in over a year with the Danes undefeated against the Irish.

Two 0-0 draws, one in Denmark and one in the Aviva last October, came either sides of last year’s World Cup play-off that saw Ireland suffer a 5-1 hammering at the Aviva Stadium.

Tonight will be a different challenge for the home side, but one all to familiar to Hareide. Boasting a Hareide’s positive record is matched with club and country, having managed Brøndby IF against Shelbourne in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup qualifying. Hareide’s side won 5-0 on aggregate.

Other crossovers between the squad include FC Midtjylland keeper Jesper Hansen who faced Republic of Ireland striker Ronan Curtis in 2017-18 Europa League qualifying.

 

PREDICTION

Denmark 2 – 0 Republic of Ireland.

BETTING 

 Denmark 1/2; Draw 13/5; Republic of Ireland 11/2.

 

Denmark

Injured: Simon Kjaer, Kasper Schmeichel

Doubtful: None.

Suspended:  Thomas Delaney.

Republic of Ireland

Injured: Johnny Eagan, Seanie Maguire, Glenn Whelan, Alan Browne.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: James McClean.